Christmas away from home

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Thursday, December 19, 2013


THE Yuletide Season is best celebrated with your family around. But for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) it's a test of mental fortitude as they are left with the optimism that their sacrifice will bear a greater effect in the future.

Take into account the case of Mary Joy Sicat, a nurse working for a public hospital in Saudi Arabia for two years. Sicat, in an interview, said she usually celebrated her Christmas with fellow OFWs and co-workers in the country.

"I spend Christmas with my co-workers and fellow OFWs. At least, being with 'kababayans' makes me feel like I'm closer to home since they are like my second family," Sicat said.

Sicat, who celebrates her birthday on Christmas Day as well, said her relatives back in Davao City either call her through long distance or have a video chat with her to greet and catch up. She also said that she somehow finds satisfaction when she gets in touch with her family yet nothing beats being with them in person.

"I feel sad and nostalgic since I'm not with them in a season that the family should be together. But I'm still happy since I am able to help the family," she said.

But as the adage would say, "Time flies when you're having fun," Sicat would preoccupy her mind by keeping herself busy at work and never taking an idle time.

Sicat remains optimistic that the distance and the physical detachment from her family and loved ones in Davao city are temporary but her affection for them continues to grow.

"I realized that the distance makes the heart grow fonder. Each day I anticipate that I am getting closer to going home to my family," Sicat added.

Leah Velasco, also an OFW who was based in Japan in 2010, also shared the same sentiments saying: "Mingaw gyud ang pasko sa gawas. Ang akong kauban ra pud gyud sa trabaho akong kauban ug celebrate sa pasko. Nagatawag ko sa akong anak ug sa mga kapamilya nako pero pagkahuman kay mingaw na sad, (It feels lonely celebrating Christmas abroad. I am only accompanied by my workmates in celebrating Christmas. I only call my son and my family but after that it's lonely again.)"

But just like Sicat, Velasco shrugged off the homesick feeling as she was also inspired by the financial help that she could extend to her family when she went to work abroad.

"At the end, our sacrifices are worth it and the savings that we earned from working abroad may be used to have a grander Christmas celebration to make up for the lost time that we were not together," Velasco added.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 20, 2013.

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